MOSCOW (AP) - Russia has more in common with Nigeria these days than just oil.
Following up on the politically charged jailing of oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a wave of scam e-mails in the style of Nigeria's notorious spammers have been popping up in inboxes from Moscow to Kentucky.
But instead of impassioned pleas by dead African dictators' aides to move millions of dollars overseas, the appeals appear to come from the inner circle of the man who was once Russia's richest.
"Dear friend, I got your reliable contact from my husband's business diary ..." begins one letter from "Leila Khodorkovsky," claiming to be the billionaire's wife - whose actual name is Inna. The letter requests assistance investing US$45 million (euro37 million) of the tycoon's money and promises compensation.
Another is signed by "Larissa Sosnitskaya," who describes herself as a personal treasurer to Khodorkovsky, seeking a beneficiary for a similar sum that she intends to use "to relocate to the American continent and never to be connected to any of Mikhail Khodorkovsky conglomerates."
While their details - and often grammar - are muddled, the Khodorkovsky-themed spam highlights the notoriety of his case and his eight-year sentence on tax and fraud charges, which critics called Kremlin revenge for his sponsoring of opposition parties.
Worth some US$15 billion (euro12 billion) before his arrest at gunpoint on a Siberian airfield in 2003 - and currently an inmate of a bleak prison colony on Russia's border with China - Khodorkovsky was an obvious choice for the authors of the Nigerian-style spam, experts say. ...